She went to Yale Drama and after appearing on Broadway got a small plum part in a Weinstein film shot on location in Shreveport in the tolerable month of January. She made the big move to LA and secured an apartment on King’s Road. Eileen, a natural Nordic blonde had the chops for theater and the face for the big screen. But, nobody had told her about the insects. I’m referring to the date beetles, the babies of the earth, the scorpions, the black widows, or something as long as her hand that Eileen started referring to as Jurassic crickets.

Nor had her agent mentioned that the roles in film were dwindling, especially for women, unless they wanted to perform in a leotard with fish scales applied – while their faces were covered in iridescent blue grease paint. At Yale her favorite professor had a refrain she constantly recalled, “work is good”, and so she determined to apply herself.

However, she could not help but worry. How to convey profound emotion toward, say, a robot from under a jaw prosthetic with tape pulling back her eyelids (she felt) somewhere north towards Minnesota? The alternative seemed to be Reality TV, something that actually did turn humans into monsters, and clocking herself as an impressionable young lady she thought she’d better hadn’t.

She took the role that required the cumulative thirty pound costume and make-up. Her director was a man who referred to the set as a battlefield. He barked and scowled and scuttled back and forth between a camera monitor and banks of computers. When he did smile or praise it seemed artificial – like he had learned the technique at an executive retreat – but that the effort it took to turn up his lips pained him.

Eileen persevered. Her robot love interest was a nice guy who made her laugh so hard the tape on her eyes popped, which sent the director into a tirade over lost time and dollars per digital second. But, eventually the film was completed. It did remarkably well, and the next role Eileen was offered was in a serious drama sans special effects and facial applications… just when she had become exceedingly comfortable in her chitinous exoskeleton.


  1. Dearest V
    “chitinous “… what a splendid word… and this made The Dandy laugh so hard that the tape on my eyes would have popped had I had the presentiment to put some on.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    • It’s just one of those words that sticks with you, isn’t it? Now, you’ve heard of the secret of Marlene Dietrich’s taught face well into her sixties… She had a gold chain that her makeup man would place just below her hairline and pull—

      • Dearest V
        And ballet dancers? Ever wonder why they wear there hair in those tight little buns?
        Margot dancing with Rudolph with that age difference? She needed every kind of natural lift she could get!
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

      • Tight little chignon on the top of my head… You’re giving me ideas 😉 . I did hear of an older exec. who would put a clothespin (or clothes-peg) on the back of her neck for official photo portraits…

  2. George Kaplan

    Vickie’s got it and has never lost it! The “chitinous exoskeleton” line always creases me up! As for the characterisation of the industry and our friend the director with his “set as battlefield” analogy they are hilarious, incisive, and…familiar! Great sardonic work, Ms L. 🙂

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